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Bettis v. Marsaglia

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

November 13, 2013

CAROLYN BETTIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
CHARLES M. MARSAGLIA and MELISSA O'NEAL, Objectors; STEPHEN FURMAN, Electoral Board Chairperson; ROBYN HAYS, Electoral Board Secretary; and FARLEY COLE, Electoral Board Member, Defendants-Appellees.

Held: [*]

Although plaintiff’s petition for judicial review of an electoral board’s dismissal of her petition to submit a proposition to the voters of a school district regarding the district’s issuance of working cash bonds was moot because the election specified in her petition had been held, the appeal was considered under the public-interest exception to the mootness doctrine, and the dismissal was upheld on the ground that plaintiff’s failure to comply with the explicit requirement of section 10-10.1(a) of the Election Code that the board be served with her petition for judicial review as a separate legal entity deprived the trial court of subject-matter jurisdiction.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Macoupin County, No. 13-MR-14; the Review Hon. Patrick J. Londrigan, Judge, presiding.

Vince Moreth, of Carlinville, for appellant.

Robert Kohn and Steven M. Richart, both of Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn LLP, of Arlington Heights, for appellees.

Justices Appleton and Pope concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

HARRIS, JUSTICE

¶ 1 Plaintiff, Carolyn Bettis, filed a petition for judicial review of a decision of the Education Officers Electoral Board (Electoral Board) for North Mac Community Unit School District No. 34, Macoupin, Montgomery and Sangamon Counties, Illinois (School District), pursuant to section 10-10.1(a) of the Election Code (10 ILCS 5/10-10.1(a) (West 2012)). On the motion of defendants Charles M. Marsaglia and Melissa O'Neal, the circuit court dismissed plaintiff's petition pursuant to section 2-619 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Civil Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-619 (West 2012)). Plaintiff appeals, arguing the court erred by granting defendants' motion to dismiss. We affirm.

¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 3 On January 28, 2013, plaintiff filed her petition for judicial review of the Electoral Board's decision in the circuit court. She alleged the Electoral Board erroneously sustained objections to petitions she submitted to the School District, which sought to submit a proposition to voters on the April 9, 2013, ballot regarding the School District's issuance of $2 million in working cash bonds. Plaintiff asserted the objections were filed by defendants Marsaglia and O'Neal on the basis that her petitions were unnumbered and not appropriately bound. She asked that the court reverse the Electoral Board's decision as being against the manifest weight of the evidence.

¶ 4 In the caption of her petition, plaintiff expressly named only Marsaglia and O'Neal as opposing parties. However, she filed a certificate of service with her petition and the record reflects copies of the petition were sent by certified mail to eight individuals, including Marsaglia; O'Neal; and the three members of the Electoral Board, Stephen Furman, Robyn Hays, and Farley Cole.

¶ 5 On February 5, 2013, defendants filed their motion to dismiss plaintiff's petition, arguing the circuit court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction because plaintiff failed to name and join the Electoral Board and its members as parties to the proceedings as required by section 10-10.1(a) of the Election Code (10 ILCS 5/10-10.1(a) (West 2012)). On February 7, 2013, the court conducted a hearing in the matter and granted defendants' motion to dismiss.

ΒΆ 6 This appeal ...


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